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Mike's ?
re: giving

Psalm 24:1
"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it,.."

That is the way I see it.

If you are blessed above average then, in my opinion, one should make note of the following comment.

"Proportionately: In the New Testament, set amounts of compulsory giving (as in the tithe) have been replaced by the grace principle of voluntary, purposeful, and proportionate giving. The new standard for today is “as He may prosper” (1 Cor. 16:2),...."

- from bible.org link in Mike's commentary

I like the "guidelines for giving" (scroll down) and the explanations given at this link.

oops - link is:

http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=813

It was not in Mike's commentary, but is from bible.org

Matt 19

God knows your heart. He wants the whole package, and especially the one thing you covet the most. In this case, it was riches. In mine it was unbelievable stubborn pride that wanted to intellectually acknowledge Jesus, but still do things my way.

In my testimony I said, "when" I finally submitted my will to God's I was saved. I did not mention that it took almost ten occasions of prayer over two weeks.

I may have been in the process as my pastor says the whole time, but the Holy Spirit did not enter me until that tenth night. Not until I was completely broken (and I mean broken)and screaming and sobbing to God, promising him everything: allegiance, submission, and obediance, did I KNOW I was saved.

Every one is different. This is just my story. I like John MaCarthur. Some think he is a little tough to take on certain issues. Salvation is one of them. Here is a quote of his:

"Salvation demands two things: Acknowledging your offense to God and leaving your present priorities and following Christ's commands, even if that should cost you what is dearest to you? Salvation is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ--at all costs. If you're not willing to be saved on those terms, Jesus won't take you." - John MaCarthur

Comments to Jeff's comments:

..we don't need to strive to be perfect. I disagree. God helps those who help themselves first---acknowledging your sinful ways first as John puts it, is the firts major step in moving toward "perfection" or being imperfectly perfect.
Faith can move mountains but we have to move our little mountains first.

I think the use of the "Rich Young Man" in Matthew gives us the impression that it is probably so much better to work with someone young whose mind is still pliable, flexible, receptive and responsive and so much more easy for him to give up his wealth but even that did not happen.

At this point I'm reminded of an old movie about St. Francis of Assissi "Brother Sun, Sister Moon" (by Zefferelli?) who gave up his family's wealth and went on to live a poor and simple life and eventually built a Church and community. The meeting/confrontation with the pope was a very powerful scene: St Francis sitting down on the marbled floor in rags and the pope on his "throne" with all his power and glory. (If anyone can help me find this old movie I'd appreciate it. I showed it to my 6th grade religion class years ago in CA)

God hardened Moses' heart to manifest his power over the powerful and using that same power to carry out his plan. "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power.."
If he did not harden Moses' heart then it would have been a different story, isn't it? Much like making a movie and its plot being carefully followed. Obviously God makes up the "plot" and things have to happen according to that plot.
Indeed, the narrative of the plagues shows us once again that God is the Uncaused Cause.

The analogy of "the little children" is a beautiful imagery for me. We've lost much of our innocence if not completely as we, our thinking and our lives, get more complex and/or complicated. We've forgotten to be humble, in fact we don't even know how anymore. We refuse to be flexible, receptive and response for we have gotten used to the comforts and routine of our daily lives. Our curiosity, spontaneity, and open-mindedness have all been set aside for as adults we seem to "know everything" or we have become "experts" at something.

Indeed, unless we become like "little children," we'll never see God's kingdom or partake of it here on earth!

"God helps those who help themselves first"

I found out a few months ago, that this is not from the Bible. I was shocked.

GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES - "Some faith adages roll off the tongue, like 'God helps those who help themselves.' But the saying is not biblical and, in fact, violates a primary scriptural teaching that only God determines a person's destiny, according to religion analyst George Barna (the phrase) is an ancient proverb that shows up in the literature of many cultures, including a 1736 edition of Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanac.

As opposed to:

Jer 17:5 (NIV) This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD."
Prov 28:26 (NIV) He who trusts in himself is a fool...

Re: "God helps those who help themselves first"

You're 100% right John. Those who help themselves usually end up with more problems. I remember hearing the proverb "One man's words are breath to another's nostrils" and I read proverbs trying to find it, as proverbs of the Bible were the only proverbs I knew of at the time. And as you can see my name being Veronica many have asked if I was named after Veronica who had wiped Jesus' face. I looked that up and it is nowhere in the Bible.

Did anyone notice how the Egyptian magicians only made matters worse by copying the plagues rather than making them go away?

Mike,
In your weekly edition you said:
The significance of Passover was that God was introducing the concept of a sacrifice.....

God had already introduced the concept of a sacrifice and, though not said directly, I believe this may have been the reason God was displeased by Cain's offering.
Genesis 8:21, especially Genesis 22:7-13 and other times of altars and sacrifices in Genesis/Exodus pointing forward to Christ's sacrifice.
Thought: why are the Israelites (Jews) not still offering sacrifices today if the promised Saviour has not yet come?

Hey Guys- before leaving the notion of "God helps them who help themselves", God asks Moses "what do you have in your hand?" when Moses frets about getting in front of Pharoah (a staff). Jesus asks "What do you have?" when the disciples fret about feeding the thousands (some fish and loaves). It seems that, sometimes, God expects some initiative and action on our part before showing His glory. Of course, He doesn't need us to bring His Kingdom, but He has taken the risk and chooses to work through broken man. I find that when I pray for those in need, I hear God telling me "Try doing something yourself. You can offer a word of encouragement, money, or whatever is needed. I'll meet you there. " Have a blessed day!

Debby,
RE: Thought: why are the Israelites (Jews) not still offering sacrifices today if the promised Saviour has not yet come?

I can't think of the scripture but I know that the Jews(of the Old Testament)had to go to the Temple in Jerusalem to sacrifice. There is no longer a Temple so they have no place to sacrifice. Also Jews of today consider themselve Israelis (sp). If anyone can find scriptures please do so it would be appreciated.

Exodus 8:1-9:35

Irrational, Illogical and Unreasonable, that is the mental state of the latter Pharaoh. That is the state of someone’ mind who is in sin, in this case, deep in sin. According to the writer of Proverbs, he is a fool because a fool cannot be reasoned with or even see reason (Prov. 12:15;17:10,16;26:12).

The first time we see these three character flaws in the Pharaohs is when the order goes out to have all the male infants killed. From a business and economic point of view that is a stupid move. Egypt’s economy was based on slave labor thus the death of all the males would over time deplete your work force. Now we see the current Pharaoh, or it’s the same ole’ Pharaoh, but now he is an older fool, actually increasing his own people’s misery, the people he is suppose to be protecting. I don’t know but I hope if I had had an up close and personal relationship with a bunch of frogs, I trust that I would begin thinking about the power, or precisely the lack of power my gods, were showing and rethink my belief systems. And if asked for a timetable to get rid of said frogs, I wouldn’t say tomorrow, I would say, “Right Now! Thank you very much.”

Now regarding God hardening Pharaoh’s heart bear with me as I use an illustration. In Biblical Text, both Old and New, soil and or the ground has been used as simile for the heart of man. We find this in the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:3-9,19) and in the Prophets Jeremiah (4:3) and Hosea’s (10:12) writings. God can either harden your heart, like Pharaoh, or soften your heart, like the Apostel Paul, based on the condition of the soil and the environment you allow yourself to live in.

Two people can have a garden separated only by a fence. One person constantly “works” the soil and keeps it watered, the other does not. Seeds are sown in both patches of land. When the sun (Son) comes up and it is in the heat of the day, the seeds sown on the soil that is worked will produce a crop of what has been planted, but that same sun (Son) will cause the unworked unprepared ground to harden further giving the birds a firm table to eat from.

Grace and peace,
Ramona

Debby--If you "Google" the words, "Temple Sacrifice" you will find many useful sources. I will post the link of one I just read and which is not to extensive, http://www.beingjewish.com/unchanged/sacrifices.html. There are a few which are very lengthy.

May I ask those who are new to reading through the Bible to exercise patience as many of your questions will be answered as we read the bible. When I began reading through the bible 17 plus years ago, I didn't do it with a group and I didn't have the money to purchase commentaries, so I either made mental notes to myself or asked God why. Everyone of my questions were answered in the scriptures, though it may not have been in the time frame I wanted but the answers appeared at the right time.

Regarding the Rich Young/Old Ruler (He could be anyone of us no matter our gender). Please note that Jesus did not recite to him the entire 10 Commandments. The Commandments are broken up into two parts, man’s relationship with God, man’s relationship with each other. Jesus only gave him the Commandments that dealt with man’s relationship with each other not the ruler’s relationship with God, that relationship with the one that was off. If you don’t have the first half of the commandments down pat, you will not be able to do the last half. Keeping that in mind if you go back and reread the story again, you will find a deeper meaning to what Jesus was trying to teach that young man.

Fisherman Dave

Good point.

To me it is about orientation. If we are oriented initially towards God in prayer and thought, and then take action - that is no problem.

If we are oriented inward, toward ourselves, take action and expect God to jump in with help. Well, he may or may not, depending on his soverign plan. the problem is leaving God out of the equation in the initial phase.

If Christ is the example, we know that He kept the Father in the initial phase of any situation. He constantly prayed in the Will of God, and did nothing the Father did not tell him or allow him to do. (sort of a paraphrase from gospel of John and I am sure we will talk more about it when we get there.)

Of course our communication is not as highly tuned as Christ's, but the example of praying and consulting first should be the object lesson.

Jesus was adamant that people keep his commandments which are 'not grievous', saying "If ye love me, keep my commandments" and making other statements about our need to obey. Why would he do so if after his death on the cross the Law, the Ten Commandments, would be done away? He never made any suggestion that they would be optional!

Also, if the Holy Spirit is supposed to be our guide and helper, it seems to me that he would be the one to enable us to keep the commandments. Instead, some churches today teach us that since we can't keep the commandments, we are excused from trying very hard, which makes Jesus a liar and the Holy Spirit a fraud! How can this be?

Thank you.

In england we have a group called Christians against poverty who assist people no matter what their income who have got into debt.They work through local groups which have to be attatched to a church.I dont know their website address but i know they have one.

Anonymous,

I don’t think anyone has posted that we don’t have to keep the Law. The point is when one is in Christ and has a relationship with Him, the one who came to fulfill the Law, we through Christ keep the Law. There is no way that we can keep the Law and the Law is more than the 10 Commandments. The Ten Commandments are like our bodies’ skeleton, there are other Laws (muscle, sinews and flesh) that hang on that skeleton.

By the way, scripture says that you just can’t break one law for there are at least 613 laws. If you just break one, even if you rationalize that out that it was a little one, a “white” lie one so you can justify yourself, the text says you have broken ALL 613 of them.

If indeed you [really] fulfill the royal Law in accordance with the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as [you love] yourself, you do well. [Lev. 19:18.] But if you show servile regard (prejudice, favoritism) for people, you commit sin and are rebuked and convicted by the Law as violators and offenders. For whosoever keeps the Law [as a] whole but stumbles and offends in one [single instance] has become guilty of [breaking] all of it.
(James 2:8-10 AMP)

When we get to the part of the Pentateuch that describes all the offerings and sacrifices one had to present, burnt, sin, guilt, wave etc. we will see that the Temple Alter was just one big “barbeque.” (Folks that is a joke).

Jesus is our sacrifice once and for all, it is when we come to understand not only what Jesus has done for us and realize He is all that we need, then our fleshly desire to steal, commit adultery, fornicate, covet, etc, will fall away and we will rest in what He has done for us.


Also I need to correct a word. In my comment about the Rich Ruler I wrote:

“Jesus only gave him the Commandments that dealt with man’s relationship with each other not the ruler’s relationship with God, that relationship with the one that was off.”

It should have been:

“Jesus only gave him the Commandments that dealt with man’s relationship with each other not the ruler’s relationship with God, that relationship WAS the one that was off.”

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